Trust told academies not improving fast enough

The BBC is reporting that an academies trust led by a former government adviser has been told too many of its schools are underperforming and not improving fast enough…

Ofsted visited six Schools Partnership Trust (SPTA) academies as part of routine inspections and found five were not offering good quality education.

One school was downgraded to an “inadequate” rating by Ofsted.

SPTA accepted improvement was needed but said there was “ample evidence” it was “an effective” academy sponsor.

The judgements are significant because putting poor performing schools under the leadership of non-profit-making academy trusts or sponsors is the government’s key engine of school improvement.

Sir Paul Edwards, chief executive of SPTA – which runs 44 schools in the Yorkshire and Humber area, has also worked as a government adviser in the Department for Education’s academy and free school programme.

England’s education inspectorate is not allowed to inspect academy chains in the same way as it inspects local education authorities.

Ofsted inspected the six schools over a 10-day period in June and sought further information on how SPTA has been performing on school improvement.

It said concerns had been raised about how well it was performing.

Four of the academies still required improvement, Ofsted said, although two of these had begun to improve.

One academy remained inadequate, but a sixth had improved to “good” from its previous rating of “satisfactory”.

The inspections also highlighted key weaknesses in the schools, such as inconsistent teaching that does not challenge pupils enough and low standards at the end of primary school. This meant too many pupils had been ill-prepared for secondary schools, Ofsted said.

It also said governors lacked expertise to challenge senior leaders on teaching quality.

But inspectors added that most of the principals it contacted felt they were well supported by trust officers and that SPTA human resource departments had assisted in managing under-performing staff…

SPTA is the third chain to be criticised by Ofsted, with critical letters recently sent to both the Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) and the E-ACT Trust – one of England’s biggest academy organisations…

More at: Trust told academies not improving fast enough


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  1. Janet2

    But wasn’t handing schools to sponsors supposed to be the golden bullet?  The Academies Commission (Jan 2013) warned that some chains were expanding too rapidly and they hadn’t got coherent policies about how to improve schools.  But the Gov’t never responded and allowed chains to expand.

    And don’t forget the 14 chains that have been “paused” from taking on more academies.

  2. Janet2

    So, “human resources” are dealing with underperforming staff.  What does that mean?  That teachers whose pupils, for whatever reason, don’t hit “targets” do not receive performance-related pay?  Or are they eased out of the classroom?  Given official warnings?

    If staff are struggling (rather than not just hitting targets) then they need support from other teachers and senior leaders not clerks in “human resources”.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Yet again academy status is not a magic wand for success. Interesting that chief executive is a former DfE advisor!

  4. zsharman

    SchoolsImprove … Academies now experiencing criticism that has been levelled at state schools for years …

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